More than 700 book reviews

Tag Archive for ‘China’

A revealing history of U.S.-China relations

The Beautiful Country and the Middle Kingdom: America and China, 1776 to the Present, by John Pomfret @@@@@ (5 out of 5) Some Americans seem to have the impression that the U.S. relationship with China began in 1972 when Richard Nixon flew to Beijing. In The Beautiful Country and the Middle Kingdom, journalist and long-time… Read More ›

Koreans, Chinese, and Mongolians clash in a murder mystery

A Drop of Chinese Blood (Inspector O #5), by James Church @@ (2 out of 5) Get this: the principal characters are named Bing, Ding, Jang, Wu, Hu, and O. Perhaps Chinese speakers can keep all these names straight, but I sure couldn’t. Of course, I might have found it easier if the plot were… Read More ›

“Who lost China?”

A review of The China Mirage: The Hidden History of American Disaster in Asia, by James Bradley @@@@ (4 out of 5) One of the conspiracy theories popular on the Far Right is that Franklin D. Roosevelt engineered the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor to ensnare the US in World War II. Like so many… Read More ›

A fascinating Chinese detective novel

A review of The Chinese Maze Murders (Judge Dee #1), by Robert van Gulik @@@@ (4 out of 5) Robert van Gulik’s series of 16 Judge Dee mysteries are set in China sometime during the era of the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644). They’re grounded in his intensive scholarly study of ancient Chinese detective stories, some of… Read More ›

Do property rights explain why capitalism works in the West but not in the rest?

A review of The Mystery of Capital: Why Capitalism Triumphs in the West and Fails Everywhere Else, by Hernando de Soto @@@@ (4 out of 5) One of the world’s enduring mysteries is why there is such a wide gap in prosperity between the developed nations and those so often referred to as “developing.” Two… Read More ›

Cold War espionage in search of the H-bomb

A review of The Whitehall Mandarin (William Catesby #4), by Edward Wilson @@@@ (4 out of 5) The Whitehall Mandarin, Edward Wilson’s complex and sophisticated novel of Cold War espionage, is the fourth book in a series that began with the The Envoy. That first book centered around the life of one Kit Fournier, an… Read More ›

Wondering why nearly all my book reviews are favorable?

If you’ve read more than a few of my book reviews, you’ve probably noticed that I rate every book on a five-@ system, and that I usually award books a rating of @@@@@, @@@@, or at least @@@. In fact, I’m not sure I’ve described a book as less than @@@ more than a couple… Read More ›

Competition between the U.S. and China through the lens of geopolitics

A review of Asia’s Cauldron: The South China Sea and the End of a Stable Pacific, by Robert D. Kaplan @@@@ (4 out of 5) Despite the “pivot” to Asia trumpeted by the Obama Administration, despite the constant refrain by observers of world affairs that the 21st century is shaping up to be dominated by… Read More ›

Chinese history in less than 200 pages

A review of China in World History, by Paul S. Ropp @@@ (3 out of 5) Far too few Americans are familiar with even the outlines of China’s 3,500-year history. We may have learned a few isolated facts — for instance, that gunpowder, paper money, and printing were all invented in China — but we’re… Read More ›

A thought-provoking look at geopolitics

A review of Prisoners of Geography: Ten Maps That Explain Everything About the World, by Tim Marshall @@@@ (4 out of 5) Most reporting on world affairs, and a great deal of historical and political analysis from academe as well, refers to the interactions of nation states as though they are defined exclusively by the… Read More ›